Indian Labour Conference (ILC) and Standing Labour Committee(SLC) have been constituted to suggest ways and means to prevent disputes. The representatives of the workers and employers are nominated to these bodies by the Central Government in consultation with the All-India organizations of workers and employers. The Labour Ministry settles the agenda for ILC/SLC meetings after taking into consideration the suggestions sent to it by member organizations. These two bodies work with minimum procedural rules to facilitate free and fuller discussions among the members. The ILC meets once a year, whereas the SLC meets as and when necessary..
ILC and SLC are both important constituents of tripartite bodies and play a vital role in shaping the IR system of the country.The function of ILC is to advise the Government of India matter referred to it for advice, taking into account suggestions made by the provincial government, the states and representative of the organizations of workers and employers´.The function of SLC is to consider and examine such questions as may be referred to it by the central government and to render advice,taking into account the suggestions made by various governments, workers and employers.
The functions of ILC are
- To promote uniformity in labour legislation
- To lay down a procedure for the settlement of industrial disputes
- To discuss matters of All-India importance as between employers and employee
According to the National Commission on Labour these 2bodies have contributed to attainment of the objectives set before them. They have facilitated the enactment of central legislation on various subjects to be made applicable to all the states and union territories in order to promote uniformity in labour legislation.
Tripartite deliberations have helped reached consensus on statutory wage fixation, introduction of a health insurance scheme, enactment of the Standing Employment Order Act1946,, Industrial Disputes Act 1947, Minimum Wages Act1948, Employees· State Insurance Act 1948, Provident Fund Scheme 1950, The Mines Act 1952 etc.
Other subjects processed by tripartite bodies are workers education, workers participation in management, training, wage policy, Code of Discipline, criteria and procedures for the recognition of unions. Though the recommendation of tripartite bodies is of advisory nature, they carry considerable weight with the government, workers and employers, A detailed account of various resolutions adopted by the ILC’s in their last two sessions is presented here:
- The 30th Session of the Indian Labour Conference
The 30th Session of the ILC was held on September 7-8, 1993 at New Delhi. After deliberations,it arrived at the following conclusions4.
- On the impact of New Industrial Policy, the chairman referred to the assurance by the Prime Minister that it would not lead to any human distress and the legitimate interests of labour would be protected.
- In regard to retraining and redeployment, the conference desired identification of labour for such retraining and redeployment and a scheme for industry-wise and occupation-wise redeployment. The conference also expressed the view that Government should identify the agency for retraining and their redeployment. The conference also wanted to know how labour of one unit would be redeployed in another unit.
- For absorption of surplus labour, if any, as for maximizing capacity utilization, the conference suggested diversification and broad-basing by working the units round the clock and on all days of the week.
- The conference expressed its serious concern at the low productivity of Indian industry and expressed its determination to improve wherever necessary its productivity, enhance its quality and reduce the price of goods to make them internationally competitive. The conference decided to strive for improvement in discipline and attitude to work at all levels. It also decided that bipartite efforts to improve productivity and quality should be institutionalized.
- The Trade Unions demanded:
- The removal of ceiling on bonus both for eligibility and for computation by promulgation of an ordinance;
- The immediate implementation of the DA rate of Rs.2 per point of the Consumer Price Index (1960 series).
- Permission for the managements of the public sector units to commence negotiations with the unions on their charter of demands immediately.
- Clearance by government to the agreement regarding pension and for the pension scheme for its early introduction.
- Enhancement of the rate of interest on Employees’ Provident Fund to at least 13 per cent.
- Enhancement of the limits of exemption of income tax substantially.
- The employers wanted postponement of the decision on removal of ceiling on bonus both for eligibility and computation of bonus by one year so that a well- thought out scheme could be evolved. They also wanted productivity linked bonus as prescribed under the law.
- The trade unions indicated that the first National Commission on Labour was appointed about 25 years ago and a time had come to set up another National Commission on Labour to examine the issues that labour was facing today in view of the many changes that has occurred in the meantime.
- The Labour Cell in the Planning Commission may be revived to facilitate consultation with trade unions while formulating policies concerning labour. The view expressed by the participants in the conference with regard to employment policy may be conveyed to the Planning Commission for its consideration and for the consideration of the two Sub-Committees of the Planning Commission/ NDC which are considering strategies for implementation of the employment policy.
- 31st Session of I.L.C
This session of I.L.C was held at Delhi on 3rd-4th January 1995.In this session various problems of industrial relations in the context of changed economic environment were discussed. The various resolutions adopted at the said conference are as under.
- The institution of the Indian Labour Conference should be strengthened further
- The Central and State Governments and the social partners should come together in making the comprehensive industrial relations law a reality and an instrument of production, productivity, employment generation and enhancement of living standards.
- Productivity of economic enterprises as a whole is of paramount importance.
- The government should give special attention to streamlining the public distribution system, particularly in centers of concentration of working people.
- The Government should review the situation arising out of the wage negotiations in Central Public Sector Undertakings and should facilitate speedy conclusion of wage negotiations and settlements.
- The worker’s representatives demanded that the eligibility and calculation ceilings under the Payment of Bonus Act should be scrapped, whereas the employers’ representatives demanded that a quick decisions should be taken on introduction of DA slabs.
- The government should introduce the Pension for Provident Fund subscribers on priority basis and there should be tripartite consultations before its introduction. Management of Social Security Funds should be professionally handled so as to maximize the returns on investments.
- Steps should be taken for speedy and orderly investigation into the rehabilitation of sick industrial enterprises registered with the BIFR,minimizing distress for the workers and disabilities for the employers.
- The constitution and the functioning of the National Renewal Fund should be reviewed such that the Fund truly serves the purpose of industrial renewal and regeneration and creation of employment opportunities.
- Implementation of training programmes should be undertaken within the framework of a well thought-out plan.
- The Central and State Governments should give high priority to allocation of resources for elementary and vocational education. Special attention should be given to the education of women.
- The government should enact, on priority basis, laws for covering agricultural and construction workers.
- The Labour Ministry should set up an Advisory Body to review, from time to time, the status of women.
- The Constitution of the Child Labour Advisory Committee should be reviewed to ensure that it is fully representative of the social partners.
- Representatives from workers’ and employers’ organizations should be included in the National delegation to the World Summit for Social Development.
- The Vocational Training System in the country should be reorganized.
- The resolutions of the 32nd Session of the Standing Labour Committee in respect of the social clause, child labour elimination and bonded labour were fully endorsed. The social partners should take further follow up action on the resolutions.18. The new International Economic Order holds out vast opportunities for economic betterment and up gradation of the living standards of the people. The risks involved in formulating and implementing economic policies to avail of these opportunities should be so handled as to minimize human distress.
- The 31st Session of Standing Labour Committee
The 31st session of S.L.C was held in New Delhi on July 25, 1992. The Committee arrived at the following conclusions:
- It was resolved that future sessions of the Standing Labour Committee(SLC) should carry fewer items on the agenda so that these could be discussed in greater detail.
- It was resolved that Government may bring specific proposals for new Industrial Relations Law in the ensuring session of Indian Labour Conference which should reflect the needs of the qualitative change in the industrial /economic scenario in the national/global context.
- It was resolved to set up a tripartite sub-committee to review the implementation of important Labour laws.
- It was resolved to set up an autonomous Bipartite Productivity Councils at the national, regional, industrial and plant levels.
- The 32nd Session of Standing Labour Committee
The thirty second session of the Standing Labour Committee was held in New Delhi on October 27, 1994. It discussed various issues concerning employment, vocational training, child labour, bonded labour, labour standards and international trade. It adopted three important resolutions discussed below:
- Social Clause: It was agreed that the government along with employers and labour organizations would resist in I.L.O. and all other fora any attempt to introduce “Social clause”, in relation to carrying our marketing at the international level, contingent upon enforcement of labour standards. Further,it advocated sustained national and international action for upgrading labour standards without any trade linkage.
- Child Labour: With respect to child labour, it remarked that the “Central and State Governments and Organizations of employers and workers should take co-ordinated action for the elimination of child labour in hazardous occupations by the year 2000 and in other employments progressively”. It also emphasized that both Central and State Governments should implement time bound and action plans to take away children from work and provide them education, primary vocational training, health and nutrition and concurrently provide to the parents of such children gainful employment.
- Bonded Labour: It exhorted that all states should take fresh surveys for the identification release and rehabilitation of bonded labour.Besides this, measures shall be initiated to check the relapse of bondage of such labour.
Committee on Conventions:
Once a country has ratified an ILO convention,it is obliged to report regularly on measures it has taken to implement it. The government must submit reports regularly detailing the steps they have taken in law and practice to apply any of the conventions they may have ratified. Governments are required to submit copies of their reports to employers· and workers· organizations. These organizations may comment on the governments· reports; they may also send comments on the application of conventions directly to the ILO.Committee in Conventions is a three-man tripartite committee set up in 1954. The object was To examine the ILO conventions and recommendations which have not so far been ratified by India.To make suggestions with regard to a phased and speedy implementation of ILO standards.
It is generally composed of eminent jurists appointed by the Governing Body for three-year terms. The Experts come from different geographic regions,legal systems and cultures. The Committee's role is to provide an impartial and technical evaluation of the state of application of international labour standards.When examining the application of international labour standards the Committee of Experts makes two kinds of comments: observations and direct requests.Observations contain comments on fundamental questions raised by the application of a particular convention by a state. These observations are published in the Committee's annual report.
Direct requests relate to more technical questions or requests for further information. They are not published in the report but are communicated directly to the governments concerned. The Committee's annual report consists of three parts. Part I contains a General Report, which includes comments about member states' respect for their Constitutional obligations and highlights from the Committee's observations Part II contains the observations on the application of international labour standards Part III is a General Survey.
Industrial Committees are tripartite bodies where the number of workers· representatives are equal to the employers· representatives. These were set up to discuss various specific problems special to the industries covered by them and suggest ways to overcome them. These committees provide a forum for the discussion of proposals for legislation and other matters connected with the labour policy and administration before they brought before the legislature.
- Steering Committee on Wages:
It was set up in 1956 and consists of representatives of state government, employers, workers and an economist.Its functions were
- To study trends in wages, production and price.
- To draw a wage map of India.
- To help laying down principles which will guide wage fixing authorities2.
- Central Boards of Workers Education:
This was constituted to encourage growth of strong and well informed trade union movement on responsible and constructive lines and comprised of representatives of central & state government, employers and workers
- National Productivity Council:
It encouraged the productivity in the country and consists of the government, employers associations, labourers association & organizations and independent experts.
- Central Implementation and Evaluation Machinery:
This is setup to ensure proper implementation of labour awards, agreements and Code of Discipline. It consists of 4 representatives each of central employers· and workers organizations with union labour minister as chairman